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Coach taught us to always help others: India's Javelin stars remember Garry Calvert

Coach taught us to always help others: Indias Javelin stars remember Garry Calvert

Sohinee Basu

Published: 30 July 2018 4:58 AM GMT
What started off to look like a significant loss for India’s medal-starved athletes when  Australian Garry Calvert resigned as the national javelin coach in April, turned into a more meaningful, irreplaceable loss for the world of athletics after the shocking news of his death
Calvert, who switched nations and went to coach the strong team of neighbouring China had little idea about how short and abrupt his tenure would be there. It was Calvert who had come as a godfather into star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra's life and pushed him to taste gold medal success at the U20 World Athletics Championships held in Finland.
Chopra's stunning win with an 86.48m shot also became an Indian national record and the gold medal a first for India at the Worlds.
In the field of athletics, especially javelin, Garry Calvert was loved immensely. The news of his sudden and abrupt death came as a shock to all sports lovers. Preyed on by a massive cardiac arrest, it was hard to digest that a dynamic and happy person could pass away so suddenly at the mere age of 63. As far as acknowledging our debt to his concerns, it would be only fair to say that it was in the able Australian's hands that Neeraj Chopra, our brightest javelin thrower, learned how to perfect the tricks of the trade and polished himself to become the star he is today. However, Calvert’s resignation in early April 2018 as the National Javelin coach was controversial. Hired in February 2016 to supervise India’s six-member javelin squad, he was given a two-year contract. However, when the Sports Authority of India asked him to draw up a coaching plan until the Tokyo Games, Calvert sought a contract extension until the next Olympics with improved terms which led to tough times making Calvert drop in his resignation and join the Chinese team. Calvert passed away in the Chinese capital of Beijing when suffered a cardiac arrest and shortly, died. Calvert, who had coached the likes of a Mitchell Johnson before he stole the show as the Australian National Cricket team's reliable pace bowler, was a man looked up to and with whom he shared smiles.
Neeraj Chopra
is particularly indebted to the Australian who specialised in employing the rotational technique, which Chopra has also fine-tuned under his guidance.

The students of Garry Calvert speak

In the February 2016 to April 2018 tenure, Calvert worked closely with Chopra and realised his potential from the beginning of the Haryanvi's training regime with the Australian. Chopra, who is now away at Finland preparing for the upcoming Asian Games was deeply saddened by the loss of his mentor and relayed the same in an exclusive interview with The Bridge. "He(Garry Calvert) was excellent. He made us do hard work but at the same time motivated us."
, said Neeraj of the man. With his protegee Neeraj Chopra The Australian has most definitely been an iconic figure in shaping Chopra's career. The root reason behind Calvert being loved by the majority is because of his overtly helpful nature, and Neeraj asserts that too, "He would always take care of his athletes and keep them happy and gay. " Neeraj reveals how shocked he was to hear such devastating news while he was away participating in a competition. He says, " We would talk frequently, and he said we'd meet at the Asian Games (scheduled to begin from August 18) and then I heard the sudden news and felt very sad. I
had a match yesterday, but his thoughts kept coming to my mind all the same. He was very nice.", says an emotional Chopra. Another former trainee and a participant for the upcoming Asian Games, Shivpal Singh spoke to The Bridge in another exclusive interview and recalled the jovial nature of the Bendigo resident's life. "Coach was a perfect man. He would help everyone around. In 2016 when we were playing for the National Games at Bangalore, he was there." "A boy from outside had come to train. But he didn't have enough money, and Coach sir gave him money out of his pocket. He had an excellent nature, and it'll be hard to find someone who'll say bad stuff about him.",
Singh narrates. Garry with his student Shivpal Singh
"He would motivate me at every step," says Singh full of adulations for Calvert. " He has helped me a lot and went along with me to championships in Germany, Poland, etc. He always tried to perfect my techniques and corrected me whenever I went wrong. " The news deeply saddened Singh, who was also aspiring and looking forward to a reunion with Calvert in the Asian Games. He remembers a few life lessons his dear coach left him with. " The best thing that I learnt from Coach Sir is the motto to help others always. All coaches teach techniques, but he taught with his heart and helped out everyone always. Other coaches don't do this. Foreign coaches who give training in camps do the required bit and don't do any extra."
, Singh says. Death can be intensely cruel and can creep in upon unassuming people. The very unpredictability of life laced with the certainty of death is what makes life so vulnerable. It is a sad loss indeed for the sporting world, to see someone's life being cut short mid-sentence before a full stop is imagined for him. His jovial nature and his pleasant attitude and the tons of memories that his trainees shared with him is what he will be remembered by in the days to come. He'll live on through Chopra's javelin throws and watch his favoured pupil soar new skies. Calvert always said, "He(Neeraj Chopra) has great talent, and has the same style as the world record-holder (Czech Jan Zelezny). He is capable of joining the 90m club," as quoted by many sources earlier. Death does steal people but it doesn't rob you of the memories and lessons learnt from making them, and that is just about enough to keep going in search of fresh glories and embarking on new conquests.
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